Looney Labs Icehouse Mailing list Archive

Re: [Icehouse] Thoughts on four-player Pikemen

  • From"Jorge Arroyo" <trozo@xxxxxxxxxxxx>
  • DateFri, 25 Jan 2008 23:03:07 +0100
I agree with you. I've observed this while playing on SDG and haven't played a 4 player game in a while. It's specially frustrating when a player benefits someone else with no gains for himself. I know you can't always play the optimal move, but when someone makes a move that is obviously going to give the win to another player, then what is the point? I don't know, maybe it's me... maybe I just play too many 2 player games... :)


On 1/25/08, Tucker <jazzfish@xxxxxxxxxxxx> wrote:
I think Pikemen's a great game: quick to learn, quick to play, full of
tough tactical choices. Plus you can (in theory) play two-player with a
Rainbow and a Xeno Treehouse set.

Four-player Pikemen has a problem, though. Namely, it's possible for all
the pawns and drones to be captured without a winner being established.
Since if everyone is paying attention it's bloody difficult to capture a
queen, this leads to endgames that drag on and on and on, and are
extremely prone to petty diplomacy.

(Ways to capture a queen that I'm aware of: point all your queens at all
of an opponent's queens, guaranteeing that she'll have to drop one of them
eventually, which has the problem of leaving you extremely vulnerable; or
threaten a queen belonging to a player who's already had another queen
threatened, which brings in the petty diplomacy and kingmaking problem.)

The possibilities for a fix that I can see:

1) People can learn how to play the four-player endgame. The tactics and
strategies are substantially different from the rest of the game but it's
not fundamentally a problem. I'm open to arguments on this point, but bear
in mind that I don't consider it "broken" so much as "un-fun."

2) Implement some sort of sudden-death or stalemate-ish rule. When only
queens are left, limit the number of future moves. If no one's won by the
end of the limit, figure out the winner in some fashion. (I'm partial to
"most points, ties broken by being furthest from the start player.")

3) Change the overall victory condition in four-player. Lower it to nine
points, or make it "twelve points, or most points when there are only
queens left," or something.

I solve this problem in tournaments by not running four-player tournament
games, but that always makes me a little sad. I really like the dynamic of
multiplayer Pikemen, and three-player has this weird edge case where one
player can't get to twelve points because most of the pieces available are


It is in the nature of poets to misuse their sources.
--John M. Ford, "The Lost Dialogue"

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